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A SBNation Community about Minor League Baseball, Rookies, and Prospects



Updated: 2017-09-18T16:05:01-04:00

 



Minor League Ball Gameday: Monday, September 18th, 2017

2017-09-18T16:05:01-04:00

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Orioles rookie Austin Hays and Tigers rookie Jeimer Candelario had fun weekends in the majors.

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Monday, September 18th, 2017. Here you go.

The minor league season is at an end, with just one game left tomorrow: the Durham Bulls vs. the Memphis Redbirds in the International League vs. Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A Championship Game Tuesday.

****Today’s Minor League Scoreboard

****Today’s MLB scoreboard

****Yesterday’s prospect talk can be found in the Saturday/Sunday discussion thread.

****Analysis of all the deadline trades involving prospects can be found here.

COOL STUFF THAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

****Baltimore Orioles prospect Austin Hays had a good weekend against the New York Yankees, going 2-for-3 with a home run on Saturday and then 2-for-4 on Sunday. He’s 4-for-14 with three RBI since being promoted from the minors on September 5th.

****Detroit Tigers rookie Jeimer Candelario also had a good weekend, going 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, then following up with a 3-for-3 day on Sunday with a home run, two walks, and four RBI.

****Tampa Bay Rays rookie and former New York Mets prospect Cesar Puello went 3-for-3 yesterday against the Boston Red Sox.




2017 Minor League Ball MLB prospect index

2017-09-18T15:46:00-04:00

A centralized index for 2017 MLB prospect reports and content from Minor League Ball. This will be updated as the season progresses. Top 205 MLB Prospects for 2017Index of Top 20 reports per teamPre-Season Farm System Rankings Mid-Season Organization Review Index Individual Reports for HITTERS Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves (7/20/2017)Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (9/7/2017)Lane Adams, OF, Atlanta Braves (4/26/2017)Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels (8/7/2017)Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers (4/10/2017)Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves (8/1/2017)Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (5/19/2017)Greg Allen, OF, Cleveland Indians (9/6/2017)Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs (4/6/2017)Brian Anderson, INF, Miami Marlins (8/18/2017)Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees (6/28/2017) (8/12/2017)Christian Arroyo, INF, San Francisco Giants (4/25/2017)Carlos Asuaje, INF, San Diego Padres (5/24/2017)Tyler Austin, 1B, New York Yankees (6/28/2017) Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (7/26/2017)Austin Barnes, C-INF, Los Angeles Dodgers (4/5/2017)Franklin Barreto, INF, Oakland Athletics (5/27/2017) (UPDATE 6/24/2017)Rafael Bautista, OF, Washington Nationals (5/1/2017)Matt Beaty, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (6/16/2017 INTERVIEW)Cody Bellinger, 1B-OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (4/25/2017)Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox (4/5/2017)Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays (7/14/2017) (New Report 9/8/2017)Greg Bird, 1B, New York Yankees (3/3/2017)Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals (4/21/2017)Chris Bostick, INF, Pittsburgh Pirates (5/10/2017)Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (6/12/2017)Willie Calhoun, INF-OF, Texas Rangers (9/13/2017)Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs (5/10/2017)Johan Camargo, INF, Atlanta Braves (6/21/2017)Victor Caratini, C, Chicago Cubs (6/28/2017)Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland Athletics (6/20/2017)William Contreras, C, Atlanta Braves (8/1/2017)Garrett Cooper, 1B, New York Yankees (7/17/2017)Franchy Cordero, OF, San Diego Padres (6/1/2017)Allen Cordoba, INF-OF, San Diego Padres (4/3/2017)Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (3/2/2017)J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (9/7/2017)Brett Cumberland, C, Atlanta Braves (6/15/2017) Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox (4/13/2017)J.D. Davis, 3B, Houston Astros (9/14/2017)Nicky Delmonico, 3B-OF, Chicago White Sox (8/2/2017)Paul DeJong, INF, St. Louis Cardinals (5/30/2017)Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox (7/18/2017) (update 7/24/2017)Elias Diaz, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (5/2/2017)Yandy Diaz, INF, Cleveland Indians (2/22/2017)  (Update 3/27/2018)Chris DeVito, 1B, Kansas City Royals (5/1/2017)Samir Duenez, 1B, Kansas City Royals (7/6/2017) Adam Engel, OF, Chicago White Sox (5/27/2017)Phillip Ervin, OF, Cincinnati Reds (8/26/2017)Sandro Fabian, OF, San Francisco Giants (5/12/2017)Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros (6/20/2017)Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees (6/30/2017)Nolan Fontana, INF, Los Angeles Angels (5/23/2017)Ti'Quan Forbes, 3B, Texas Rangers (6/5/2017)Dustin Fowler, OF, New York Yankees (6/30/2017)Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees (7/1/2017) Cam Gallagher, C, Kansas City Royals (8/9/2017)Willy Garcia, OF, Chicago White Sox (5/3/2017)Mitch Garver, C-1B, Minnesota Twins (8/25/2017)Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays (7/9/2017)Miguel Gomez, INF, San Francisco Giants (7/10/2017)Erik Gonzalez, INF-OF, Cleveland Indians (5/14/2017)Jacob Gonzalez, 3B-1B, San Francisco Giants (8/14/2017)Niko Goodrum, INF-OF, Minnesota Twins (9/11/2017)Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals (5/9/2017)Zack Granite, OF, Minnesota Twins (7/10/2017)Vladimir Guerrero JR, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (8/29/2017)Yuli Gurriel, OF-1B, Houston Astros (8/4/2017) Ian Happ, OF, Chicago Cubs (5/13/2017) (More scouting details 5/13/2017)Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners (3/28/2017)Alen Hanson, INF-OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (4/11/2017)Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles (9/8/2017)Kyle Higashioka, C, New York Yankees (4/9/2017)Marco Hernandez, INF, Boston Red Sox (4/12/2017)Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Houston Astros (4/26/2017)John Hicks, C, Detroit Tigers (4/24/2017)Rhys Hos[...]



Mets give bullpen trial to rookie Jacob Rhame

2017-09-18T15:35:34-04:00

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Acquired for Curtis Granderson, Rhame looks to nail down a spot in the Mets bullpen.

Back on August 19th, the New York Mets traded veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later. On the 20th the PTBN was revealed to be right-handed pitcher Jacob Rhame, then pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Rhame switched over to the Mets Pacific Coast League affiliate at Las Vegas to finish out the season, then was promoted to the major league roster for September.

The Dodgers drafted Rhame in the sixth round in 2013 from Grayson County Community College in Texas. He blitzed the Midwest League in 2014 with a 2.00 ERA and a 90/14 K/BB in just 67 innings, then had a solid year in Double-A in 2015. Moved up to Triple-A for ‘16 he posted a 3.29 ERA in 63 innings for Oklahoma City, with a 70/28 K/BB.

Rhame returned to Oklahoma City for 2017 and his ERA rose to 4.31 in 48 innings, although his peripheral stats remained strong with a 55/10 K/BB. After being traded to the Mets he was almost unhittable for Vegas with six innings, fanning 11 and giving up just two hits.

Listed at 6-1, 215, Rhame is 24 years old, born March 16th, 1993. He has no problems with arm strength: he hit 93-95 MPH in college and mechanical refinements in pro ball bumped that up a notch to 94-97. His secondary pitches are less reliable than the fastball; his slider and curveball come and go and his change-up is inconsistent, although all have improved since college. When he’s right he’s overpowering, although he has a consistent reverse platoon split pattern.

Rhame usually throws strikes and profiles well as a middle reliever. If his secondaries continue to progress he could be more than that someday.

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Twins rookie John Curtiss: Can he duplicate minor league dominance?

2017-09-18T13:10:39-04:00

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Minnesota right-hander blew away minor league hitters this year. Will this happen in the majors?

Earlier today we checked in on Minnesota Twins rookie reliever Gabriel Moya. Another bullpen arm having a September trial in Minnesota is right-hander John Curtiss. Like Moya, Curtiss had an excellent 2017 season in the high minors and could be a significant part of the Twins bullpen in upcoming campaigns. Let’s take a look.

A college pitcher at the University of Texas, Curtiss had a solid freshman season in 2012 but missed the 2013 season with a double-whammy of Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome. He returned in 2014 and pitched well enough to earn a spot in the sixth round of the draft with the Twins.

Curtiss struggled in 2015 (6.07 ERA in Low-A) but improved in 2016 (2.66, 85/25 K/BB in 61 innings in Low-A/High-A). His 2017 season was even better, with a 1.28 ERA in 49 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 68/22 K/BB and only 23 hits allowed.

So far in the majors he’s given up nine hits and eight runs over 3.2 innings, walking two but fanning five. No one is judging him on that given his overall ‘16 and ‘17 performance.

Curtiss is 6-4, 200, age 24, born April 5th, 1993. He has classic bullpen stuff with a 93-98 MPH fastball and a slider. The breaking ball is inconsistent; observers back in 2015 and 2016 described it as mediocre-to-average but it is reportedly sharper this year. He had a fringy change-up in college but doesn’t use it much now, instead varying speeds on the breaking ball between 79 and 87 MPH to give hitters different looks.

He made strides with his command this year and mowed down upper minors competition. Curtiss will be in the bullpen mix going forward, projecting as a short and middle reliever. He might get a shot at closing eventually if his breaking ball holds up.

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Detroit Tigers prospect Artie Lewicki arrives in majors

2017-09-18T12:20:02-04:00

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University of Virginia product looks for role in the Show

On September 3rd the Detroit Tigers promoted right-handed pitcher Artie Lewicki to the major league roster. He started against the Kansas City Royals on September 4th, giving up 11 hits and five runs in five innings, then came in for a bullpen outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on the 10th, throwing two scoreless innings. Lewicki should be in the pitching mix for 2018 so let’s take a look at what he offers.

A University of Virginia product, Lewicki was reasonably successful for the Cavaliers in 2012 and 2014 as both a starter and reliever but missed almost all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. Drafted in the eighth round in 2014, he has worked primarily as a starter in the Tigers system.

He spent portions of both 2015 and 2016 on the disabled list with arm woes. Lewicki ranked 20th on the pre-season Detroit Tigers Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with this comment:

20) Artie Lewicki, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, eighth round pick in 2014 from University of Virginia; posted 3.44 ERA with 77/19 K/BB in 89 innings between High-A and Double-A, 88 hits; low-90s fastball that can hit 95 at times, mixes in breaking ball and change-up, usually throws strikes, gets lots of grounders; four/five starter profile though history of durability concerns may make him better fit in pen, where his stuff would play up in short doses. ETA 2018.

Lewicki stayed healthy all of 2017 and had his best professional season so far, posting a 3.38 ERA in 141 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 123/31 K/BB.

Listed at 6-3, 195, Lewicki is 25 years old, born April 8th, 1992. He has a four-pitch arsenal with a fastball (90-95 MPH), curve, slider, and change-up; he’s usually not overpowering but can hit every velocity spot between 75 and 95 MPH with his various pitches. Instincts and mound presence are also positives.

Lewicki profiles as a fourth starter in terms of stuff. He does have a history of injuries including the Tommy John surgery and more than one “dead arm” period, so his durability in a starting role is unclear. I speculated pre-season that he may fit better in relief; we’ll have to see if the Tigers agree.

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Lefty Gabriel Moya auditions with the Twins

2017-09-18T11:24:20-04:00

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Rookie southpaw was unstoppable in the minors this year

Back on July 27th, the Minnesota Twins traded catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Arizona Diamondbacks from left-handed pitcher Gabriel Moya. The southpaw was untouchable in the minors this year and the Twins have promoted him to the majors for the September stretch run. Here’s a quick take.

Moya is from Venezuela, signed by the Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2012. He got beaten up in the Pioneer League as a starter in 2014 but moved to the bullpen in 2015 and took off, posting a 1.93 ERA in 23 innings. His 2016 season was excellent (1.55 ERA, 82/17 K/BB in 64 innings in A-ball) and his 2017 campaign was even better (0.77 ERA in 58 innings in Double-A, 87/15 K/BB, 24 saves in 24 attempts).

Listed at 6-0, 175, Moya is 22 years old, born January 9th, 1995. As you can see his numbers since moving to the bullpen are insane, especially in 2017. He doesn’t have a blazing fastball, generally 90-93, but he mixes it effectively with an average breaking ball and an above-average change-up. The change helps his fastball play up.

I can’t find any video of the change-up but you can at least see his delivery here.

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Moya has a history of reverse platoon splits, holding right-handers to a mere .094 average this season. That’s too extreme to hold up over the long-term but it does indicate that he is not necessarily confined to LOOGY work down the line. If his command holds up he could have a long and successful bullpen career.




2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Stat Leaders

2017-09-18T10:33:15-04:00

A closer look at the Blue Jays minor league stats from 2017. The minor league season has come to a close. It’s a tough time of the year for those who are most interested in the future of a franchise, but the positive is that we can now sit back and dig into what happened on the field in the minors in 2017. Note to be eligible for any non-counting stat(Batting average, on base, slugging, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts per nine) a player must have enough PA/IP. I’ve set the bar at 250 plate appearances and 65 innings pitched for starters with a 40 innings pitched for relievers. Also all of these stats are cumulative for the 2017 season, so for example Ronald Acuña would be listed with his Florida, Mississippi, and Gwinnett stats together. Major league stats will not count, so for example Rafael Devers won’t get credit for his Boston stats. All stats are for within the organization only, so Eloy Jimenez numbers are split between the Cubs and White Sox. One thing you can’t help but notice with the Blue Jays is the sheer dominance of top prospects and second generation pros Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Had 2017 draftee Ryan Noda had a few less plate appearances that duo would have topped every single non-speed related category(so take out triples and steals) with the lone exception of home runs. Batting Average Ryan Noda, Bluefield, .364 Bo Bichette, Low A/High A, .362 Yorman Rodriguez, Bluefield/Vancouver, .333 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Low A/High A, .323 Danny Jansen, High A/AA/AAA, .323 Anthony Alford, AA/AAA/High A, .299 Rafael Lopez, AA/AAA, .288 Rafael Lantigua, DSL, .284 Roemon Fields, AA/AAA, .283 Chavez Young, Bluefield/Vancouver, .283 Hits Bo Bichette, Low A/High A, 162 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Low A/High A, 141 Edward Olivares, Low A/High A, 133 Juan Kelly, High A, 131 Tim Lopes, AA, 127 Richard Urena, AA, 126 Danny Jansen, High A/AA/AAA, 119 Harold Ramirez, AA, 118 Roemon Fields, AA/AAA, 115 Connor Panas, High A, 111 Jonathan Davis, AA, 111 Doubles Bo Bichette, Low A/High A, 41 Richard Urena, AA, 36 Juan Kelly, High A, 29 Rowdy Tellez, AAA, 29 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Low A/High A, 28 Edward Olivares, Low A/High A, 27 Tim Lopes, AA, 27 Christian Lopes, AAA/High A/GCL, 26 Danny Jansen, High A/AA/AAA, 25 Kevin Smith, Bluefield, 25 It took Kevin Smith just 61 games to amass his 25 doubles after the shortstop was drafted from the University of Maryland in the fourth round this year. Triples Edward Olivares, Low A/High A, 10 Chavez Young, Bluefield/Vancouver, 8 Steward Berroa, DSL, 7 Roemon Fields, AA/AAA, 6 Rafael Lantigua, DSL, 6 While Bo Bichette and Vladdy Jr. were the guys being talked about for Lansing and Dunedin this year, only one guy from those teams made the lists for batting average, doubles, triples, and homers- their less heralded teammate outfielder Edward Olivares. Olivares is a 21 year old Venezuelan outfielder who played the bulk of his time in center and right this year. Homers Connor Panas, High A, 18 Edward Olivares, Low A/High A, 17 Rafael Lopez, AA/AAA, 16 Bo Bichette, Low A/High A, 14 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Low A/High A, 13 Gunnar Heidt, AA, 13 Ryan McBroom, AA, 12 Mike Ohlman, AAA, 12 Cavan Biggio, High A, 11 Jason Leblebijian, AAA, 11 Just missing the list with 10 homers apiece include Danny Jansen and Juan Kelly. Kevin Smith nearly made this list as well despite limited games, as he hit nine homers after signing. RBI Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Low A/High A, 76 Bo Bichette, Low A/High A, 74 Edward Olivares, Low A/High A, 72 Juan Kelly, High A, 68 Cavan Biggio, High A, 60 Richard Urena, AA, 60 It's no surprise that every one of the five guys atop this list spent time in that very talented Dunedin lineup. Stolen Bases Roemon Fields, AA/AAA, 50 DJ Davis, High A, 32 Reggie Pruitt, Vancouver, 28 Jon Berti, AAA/High A, 24 Nick Sinay, Low A, 23 With 22 steals on the year Bo Bichette was just one away from [...]



3 Cleveland Indians prospects you need to know

2017-09-17T09:30:02-04:00

The Indians have seen a bevy of youthful prospects impact the roster the past two seasons. Here are three more that can do the same. The Minor League Ball look at three prospects from each farm system continues with the Cleveland Indians. Thus far, we have looked at: The Philadelphia Phillies The Houston Astros The New York Yankees The Indians have had some pretty big prospects the past few seasons, leading to a quick turn around at the big league level. Names like Francisco Lindor have made the Indians perennial contenders, while Francisco Mejia is getting his chance to see what he can do this September. Who could be the next impact prospect? Here are three names you need to know. Shane Bieber, RHP Bieber Fever gained a lot of momentum midseason when people realized that he simply doesn’t walk people. Still not a household name, Bieber jumped up the Indians prospect list and showed some big league potential. The righty stepped in for UC Santa Barbara, replacing Dillon Tate as the Friday starter in 2016. He went 12-4, striking out 109 and walking just 16 in 134.2 innings. It’s no coincidence that the Gauchos reached their first College World Series with the control-minded Bieber as their ace. The Indians liked what the saw and selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Bieber proved that his 2016 pro debut (0.38 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 21-to-2 strikeout-to-walk rate in 24 innings) was no fluke, climbing three levels and reaching Double-A in 2017. Combined, he went 10-5 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He showed little issue with endurance, tossing 173.1 innings. Bieber struck out 162 over that span and walked 10. Ten batters. That’s a 0.5 walks-per-nine rate. According to John Sickels’ preseason assessment, his arsenal consists of a: …90 MPH fastball, solid slider and change-up, excellent command and control; the Indians have a good track record at getting the best out of this type of pitcher Bieber had a Greg Maddux -esque year. Grant it, he is one of the most advanced college arms in the minors and was still in the lower levels for much of the season, but he threw some of his best innings at the make-or-break Double-A level. Bieber has a mid-rotation ceiling with a reliable, innings-eating fifth starter as his floor. Willi Castro, SS Poor Castro. He had a breakout season in Lynchburg, but there isn’t much room at the infield level in Cleveland right now. Even Yu-Cheng Chang seems to be in his way in Double-A. Still, the switch-hitting 20-year-old played well across the board. He slashed .290/.337/.424 with 24 doubles and 11 home runs, all career bests. Castro continues to impress as one of the youngest players at every level he’s played. That’s the exciting part. He is still just 20 and continually improving. Now tapping into his power, at 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, it seems likely that more will come. He’s averaged 18 stolen bases over his three years in full-season ball, so it’s not out of the question Castro is a potential 20-20 player, but 15-20 seems more likely. He’s continued to make improvements in the hitting department all while lowering his strikeout rate and raising his walk rate. He’s had little trouble at shortstop thanks to a blend of that speed and natural instincts. While Castro currently doesn’t have one standout tool, he uses all of them well. Aaron Civale, RHP The Indians scored themselves a pair of control specialists in consecutive rounds in the 2016 MLB Draft. Right before grabbing Bieber, they selected Civale out of Northeastern. Much like Bieber, Civale seemingly hates to walk people. Civale dominated the New York-Penn League in 13 starts last season, posting a 1.67 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP, walking less than two-per-nine. Though he did not get to make his Double-A debut in 2017, he improved greatly when he jumped from Low to High-A. The righty went 11-2 with Lynch[...]